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A Local Newspaper Squeaks

Local newspapers like the nearby Janesville Gazette often self-servingly contend that they’re like the last oasis before a news desert. It’s closer to the truth to say they’re a contributor to an increasingly arid local climate. Even stories that reveal some information hold back from readers other key documents that would aid in fuller understanding…

A New Embrace That Should Have Been an Old Embrace

One reads that, in rejection of a prior administration’s approach, [Wisconsin Attorney General] Kaul Embraces Opens Records Policy: Wisconsin’s open records law applies to all records requests, big or small. But under former Attorney General Brad Schimel, the Wisconsin Department of Justice implemented a restrictive policy that limited access based on the number of potentially…

Closed Government is Expensive Government

Small communities – by definition places with small populations – have fewer people from whom residents can choose officials, elected or appointed. The rational response for these communities would be to be as open as possible, to make best use of their full populations, and to encourage newcomers. Pride, however, stands in the way of…

Public Records Requests as Pre-Litigation Actions

Wisconsinites submitting public records requests under the law (Wis. Stat. §§ 19.31 et seq.) may do so for any number of reasons (and need not declare a motivation of any sort). Not everyone will have the same aims in mind. For someone who’s a publisher (newspaper, magazine, blogger), however, a sensible way to look at…

The Best Record is a Recording

A video recording of the 5.28.19 Whitewater Unified School Board meeting is now online. It is, truly, a genuine good without merely particular ends.  (Every regular and special board session should be online, by the board’s own policies. See Public Records Request, 5.20.19.) A recording of the full session confirms yet again that the best…

Public Records Request of 6.26.18 (Grocery)

Yesterday’s post addressed open government aspects of an unrecorded council meeting.  See Public Records Request of 6.26.18 (Open Government).   This post will consider a slide presentation from the unrecorded Whitewater Community Development Authority presentation of 6.19.18 on grocery store recruitment.  Embedded immediately below is that slide presentation, and a link to the 5.19.16 Perkins supermarket…

Public Records Request of 6.26.18 (Open Government)

The Whitewater Common Council agenda packet of 6.19.18 promised a “report and update on grocery store recruitment,” but that session was only partially recorded, with no video or audio record of the grocery presentation.  In response, I submitted a public records request of 6.26.18, about three topics: 1. Any audio or video recording of the…